The African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis endures whole body dehydration which can increase its reliance on anaerobic glycolysis for energy production. This makes the regulation of the terminal enzyme of glycolysis, lactate dehydrogenase (LDH), crucial to stress survival. We investigated the enzymatic properties and posttranslational modification state of purified LDH from the skeletal muscle of control and dehydrated (30% total body water loss) X. laevis. LDH from the muscle of dehydrated frogs showed a 93% reduction in phosphorylation on threonine residues and an 80% reduction of protein nitrosylation. LDH from dehydrated muscle also showed a 74% lower Vmax in the pyruvate oxidizing direction and a 78% decrease in Vmax in the lactate reducing direction along with a 33% lower Km for pyruvate and a 40% higher Km for lactate. In the presence of higher levels of urea and molecular crowding by polyethylene glycol, used to mimic conditions in the cells of dehydrated animals, the Km values of control and dehydrated LDH demonstrated opposite responses. In the pyruvate oxidizing direction, control muscle LDH was unaffected by these additives, whereas the affinity for pyruvate dropped further for LDH from dehydrated muscle. The opposite effect was more pronounced in the lactate reducing direction as control LDH showed an increased affinity for lactate, whereas LDH from dehydrated animals showed a further reduction in affinity. The physiological consequences of dehydration-induced LDH regulation appear to poise the enzyme towards lactate production when urea levels are high and lactate catabolism when urea levels are low, perhaps helping to maintain glycolysis under dehydrating conditions whilst providing for the ability to recycle lactate upon rehydration.

Dehydration, Lactate dehydrogenase, Urea, Xenopus laevis
Journal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Department of Biology

Childers, C.L. (Christine L.), & Storey, K. (2019). Purification and characterization of a urea sensitive lactate dehydrogenase from skeletal muscle of the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis. Journal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology. doi:10.1007/s00360-018-1200-3